Island Notebook

The Bee Whisperer Speaks

Dear Friends and Loyal Patrons,

Many of you have inquired whether our bees have been affected by this mysterious colony collapse disorder that is devastating the beekeeping industry nationwide. Fortunately, we have had no losses thus far and we greatly appreciate your concern.

We do believe that this sudden and drastic decline in honeybees may be due to a new class of pesticides, neonicotinoids, which have been widely utilized of late, coinciding with the collapse. It is known that these compounds compromise the beesí neurological systems interfering with their ability to orient and navigate back to the hive, decimating the population. Neonicotinoids are also immune suppressors increasing the bees susceptibility to viruses. The pesticides concentrate in plant tissue, even in those we eat.

In order to protect beekeeping, the health of your family, the environment, and future generations, we ask that you consider the following:

  • Be proactive and ask your landscaper and/or pest control provider what they are using in and around your home. Neonicotinoids include imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidrin. They are marketed for control of ticks and lawn grubs, as liquid pest control for shrubs and trees, and even in potting soil.

  • Stop using pesticides on your lawns and gardens and if you must, use organic methods.

  • Ask your U.S. Congressman and Senators to investigate the human, animal and wildlife health effects of neonicotinoids.

  • Purchase organic produce as much as is practical and support local agriculture.

  • Encourage native plants and animals on your property and consider allowing a portion to function as wildlife habitat.

  • Keep informed. We will provide updates on our website.

  • Thanks for listening and for your support,

    Hive Sweet Hive

    10,000 worker bees and one queen call these stacks of wooden boxes home. Each hive consists of at least one bottom board, two brood chambers, an inner cover and an outer cover. During the summer bloom, one or more top box, or super, is added where the bees store their excess honey for our harvest.

    Block Island Bee Hive


    Entrance to a hive


    Home is Where the Honey Is

    Each super consists of 8-10 frames of beeswax honeycomb. In the top supers the bees fill the frames with sealed honey. In the bottom brood chambers, the queen lays eggs and the nurse bees tend to a new generation. At a rate of 3,000 eggs a day, the queen lays in a specific oval pattern with the brood in the center of the frame. The surrounding cells are packed with pollen, and honey. Each baby bee needs one cell of honey and one cell of pollen to reach maturity.

    Frames inside super


    Frame with worker bees, brood, pollen and honey


    Honey Habitats

    Wildflowers abound among the Island's stonewalls, roads, wetlands, meadows and even on the beach. September is the most spectatcular, both visually and bloom wise.

    If you don't spray or over weed whack, you'll provide the perfect habitat for the bees' favorite food: goldenrod, asters and blackberry. Monarchs fatten up in the fall on goldenrod, too, before they migrate to Mexico and islanders and visitors alike fill their bellies with blackberries. We all win with less.


    Recipe for Wildflowers

    Preserve open space. Mow once in late March. Watch the blooms of thistle, goldenrod, asters, chicory, milkweed and more emerge. Observe butterflies and bees as they forage the fields for nectar and the birds as they seek seeds. Enjoy!!!


    Beach 'N Blooms

    Seaside goldenrod (Salidago sempervirens) can survive the harsh conditions on the faces of dunes and bluffs, the beach and even down town beween sidewalks and storefronts. Succulent and salt resistant, these fleshy flowers are as hardy as any crusty "year rounda" and the bees love them!

    Remember to tread lightly, leave no trace, carry-in carry-out and keep an eye out for the goldenrod when you go to the beach.


    Island Byway

    A mixture of goldenrod and asters adorn this driveway with their yellows, golds, purples, and whites. The owners have a glorious entry way and the bees and butterflies have a glorious feast.

    Copyright © 2015 Littlefield Bee Farm. Box 514, Block Island, RI 02807   Telephone: 888-466-5364  Fax: 401-466-9978    Email  
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